Windows is a very popular operating system, used by many people all across the globe. With this kind of popularity, it will come as no surprise that Windows is also a huge target for hackers and other illicit PC users, who seek to undermine the most popular operating system in the world.
Now, there are plenty of dangers when it comes to computers. Connecting to the internet opens your machine up to a wide range of threats, with many more popping up every single day. Knowing the risks can help you quite a bit, but there are definitely a few security tips that most Windows users will want to know right off the bat. This stuff can help keep your computer functional longer and make sure you're protected against any illicit access or data mining.
So What Are The Risks?
When you access the internet, and go on websites, those websites can actually track information about your browser, operating system, browsing history, and so forth. This functionality is built into how the internet works, and we wouldn't be able to support the modern internet without it, but the risks that come along with it are very real.
In the worst case scenarios, you can have your identity stolen, your bank accounts accessed, or even have part of your computer hijacked to perform illegal actions against your will and without your knowledge.
In addition to possibly illicit websites and services being given access to your information, they may also be able to covertly install malicious software on your machine, which can track your keystrokes or hijack your processing power for illicit means. Being aware of this can help you avoid risky websites and services that you don't trust, but there are a few other things you should definitely be doing in order to safeguard your traffic:
#1 Get to Know Windows Firewall
Windows firewall is your PC's main protective agent against the malice of the internet world. Firewall has a lot of different features, and is fairly comprehensive in keeping software and such off of your machine. That being said, it still needs to be used properly. Giving access to programs you think you can trust can easily turn into a nightmare, so understanding Firewall and how it works is key.
#2 Install a Good Antivirus
There are a lot of free and paid antivirus and security programs out there which will comprehensively protect your computer against software threats. The best ones can scan thoroughly, quickly identify new threats, and easily delete or quarantine infected files.
Good options include Microsoft Security Essentials, Kaspersky, and Norton.
#3 Use A VPN
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, will encrypt your traffic and tunnel your connection through a proprietary server with added security and protection. This allows you to hide your identifying information online, and potentially protect against online threats to your security and privacy. The best VPN for Windows also comes with malware protection features, as well.
#4 Keep Your PC and Software Updated
Having all this nice software and OS features to keep you safe is all well and good, but it won't do you any favors if you never update your system. Like we said earlier, new threats and methods of undermining your Windows security are popping up every day, and if you don't keep your antivirus, VPN, and Windows security features updated, you could be at risk.
It can be a bit of a pain to keep everything updated when you use a wide range of software to protect your PC, but it's still one of the most important (if not the most important) step in keeping your computer safe.
#5 Use Windows Defender
Windows Defender is a competent set of security tools that comes pre-installed on Windows devices. It's convenient because it gives you antivirus protection and other features without you having to go out of your way to install a third-party antivirus (although you may still want to, just to be safe).
If you go to Windows Settings, you can click on “Update & Security”, “Windows Security”, and then “Open Windows Security”. This will bring you to the Windows Security interface, where you can mess around with antivirus settings. Don't hesitate to use the help feature or Google to familiarize yourself with how everything works. Remember that knowing is half the battle.
So now, hopefully, you have a bit of an idea of how to move forward with your Windows security needs. You have a wide range of tools at your disposal, with some of the best companies in the world working to keep you safe. The best thing you can do to help them help you, is to keep yourself informed, and always be careful of what you access and download online.